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John Lackey, Franklin Morales to take next rehab steps in Portland

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John Lackey and Franklin Morales will each make rehab appearances Monday night in Portland.

J. Meric

According to Brian MacPherson, Portland will play host to both John Lackey and Franklin Morales on Monday as they take the next step on their respective roads back to Boston. They'll manage to cram both men into one game with piggyback starts--a time-honored minor league tradition, even if it rarely sees the light of day in the majors.

While Boston has dealt with a remarkable number of early season injuries, they've weathered the storm with aplomb, and seem to be getting healthy in a hurry. Lackey's first four innings have provided hope for a bounce back where there was precious little before, and while his injury was frightening at the time, the fact that he's set to pitch again relatively soon after it first happened would suggest that it really wasn't as bad as we all feared.

What will be interesting to see with Franklin Morales is just how much they stretch him out. While Morales was seen by many as the sixth starter heading into the season, a couple decent outings from Alfredo Aceves combined with Morales' injury difficulties when in the rotation could leave him as more of a traditional bullpen option. Given the struggles of Andrew Miller so far this season, that might not even be the worst thing, especially with John Lackey's imminent return letting the Sox avoid pressing their luck with Aceves, at least for now.

The Red Sox will have to find a pair of roster spots when Lackey and Morales return, but that shouldn't be too tall a task. Alex Wilson and Steven Wright are both just up to fill the holes, at the moment.